COVID-19: Haryana shuts schools till Apr 30, issues consolidated guidelines to contain virus spread

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Chandigarh, Apr 16 (PTI) The Haryana government on Friday announced consolidated guidelines to contain the spread of COVID-19, ordering closure of schools, colleges and coaching institutes till April 30 and capping the number of attendees at gatherings and passengers in vehicles.

All schools, colleges, coaching institutions, Industrial Training Institutes, libraries and training institutes, whether government-funded or private, shall remain closed in the state till April 30, officials said.

Admission processes and other administrative work will continue in schools as before, they said.

Earlier, schools had been closed till April 30 for students up to Class 8.

Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar made a televised address to the people of the state on Friday evening about the present COVID-19 situation.

He assured there was no need to panic, but said there was a need for heightened caution as cases were rising.

Meanwhile, in the consolidated guidelines, the state government said masks are mandatory in public places, and those found without face masks are to be fined Rs 500.

Deputy Commissioners, wherever necessary, may impose section 144 of CrPC for enforcement of night curfew and other restrictions as required locally, according to the guidelines.

Sanjiv Kaushal, Financial Commissioner and Additional Chief Secretary, Revenue and Disaster Management, said the department has released an advance of Rs 10 lakh for every deputy commissioner in the state to enable them to take urgent measures for COVID-19 management.

As per earlier directions, a maximum of 50 people will be allowed in indoor spaces, including cinemas, theatres, multiplexes, bars, restaurants, hotels, clubs and gyms.

In open spaces, gatherings will be allowed with a maximum of 200 attendees.

Taxi and cabs will be allowed to ply with a maximum of three passengers in addition to the driver, and auto and e-rickshaws with two persons in addition to the driver.

One pillion rider will be allowed on a two-wheeler and masks, helmets and gloves are mandatory for both the persons.

Manually-driven rickshaws shall carry not more than two passengers, the guidelines said.

Movement in containment zones shall be allowed only for emergency vehicles and those of essential goods or services, it added.

Buses will ply with 50 per cent capacity, and passengers need to be seated in marked seats only.

Passengers intending to undertake interstate travel must carry their identity proofs and tickets, in physical form along with a photocopy of each, the advisory said.

Social, academic, sports, entertainment, cultural, religious, political functions and other congregations will be allowed in areas outside containment zones, but COVID-19-appropriate behaviour is to be strictly maintained.

All agencies engaged in procurement activities will ensure sanitisation and enforcement of hygiene in 'mandis' for the remaining of the procurement season.

The district administration will ensure the establishment of adequate COVID care centres and quarantine facilities for patients who do not need hospitalisation but are not capable of maintaining home-isolation.

Banks shall ensure observance of COVID-appropriate behaviour at all branches as well as ATMs. Sanitisation shall be done on regular intervals of two hours, the guidelines said.

People shall be encouraged to get vaccinated. A special vaccination drive shall be organised by all departments in conjunction with the Department of Health and Family Welfare for at least a week commencing from April 20, it added.

During his televised address, Khattar once again appealed to the farmers sitting at Haryana's borders with Delhi to end their stir in view of the situation.

He added that they can return to the protest sites once the situation improves.

The chief minister said not just Haryana, but some of its neighbours like Punjab and Delhi and even the UT of Chandigarh was witnessing a surge in cases.

In addition to Gurgaon and Faridabad, districts like Kurukshetra, Ambala, Karnal, Panchkula, Yamunanagar are also witnessing a surge this time, Khattar added.

Haryana on Thursday recorded its biggest single-day jump of 5,858 new cases.

Assuring that adequate health facilities are available, the chief minister said, 'There is no need to panic, but we need to remain on guard and follow all COVID-related guidelines.' He also assured migrant workers in the state to continue attending their work without worry.

Haryana Home Minister Anil Vij said the government currently has no intention to impose any lockdown, not even a weekend lockdown, in the state. PTI SUN VSD IJT